From my house to yours, from my family to yours, the Merriest of Christmas’s, the Happiest of New Years, and may your holiday season be filled with love, laughter, joy and family. ~ Peg
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What a treat for me – and YOU!!- today. I’ve got A Kenstington/Lyrical Press writing-sistah with me talking about her newest historical romance, plus she’s giving away a little prize. I met and sat next to Jenna Jaxon at a book signing last year in Denver and had the most enjoyable 2 hours with her. She is open, engaging, witty, and a delight!!!! She’s here today with a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from her newest book WHAT A WIDOW WANTS. Sit back and delight in this new entry in The Widow’s Club series.
WHAT A WIDOW WANTS
by Jenna Jaxon
GENRE: Historical Romance
Widowed by the Battle of Waterloo, the ladies of Lyttlefield Park are returning to London society—with their futures in their own hands . . .
The widowed Lady Stephen Tarkington, Fanny to her friends, has finished mourning her cad of a husband and is ready to enjoy her freedom. The kind of freedom neither a gently bred miss nor a close-watched wife is permitted: dressing up as Aphrodite for a masquerade, drawing gentlemen away from the party, and hinting at late-night assignations with her dance partners. All is going pleasurably according to plan—until the Roman god Fanny kisses during a masquerade turns out to be Matthew, Lord Lathbury, whose proposal she refused years ago . . .
Lathbury is charming, passionate, inventive, everything Fanny wants in a lover—but unfortunately, he’s on the hunt for a wife. He’s more than willing to use all his wicked skills to persuade her back to the altar, but he can’t wait forever. And now Fanny’s position is more precarious than she once thought. If the tongues of the ton set to wagging, it’s possible no offer in the world will save her from ruin. But does she want to be saved? . . .
Leaning into him, she whispered, “We can renew our acquaintance in all ways that count.”
“So you’ll agree to bed me but not wed me?”
“For the moment.” She tapped her fingers lightly on his chest. “Would that be such a hardship on you?”
Sighing, he pulled a face. “I suppose not.” A flash of his boyish grin made her stomach drop. “May I woo you properly, at least?”
“Improperly would be more to my taste.” Fanny returned his smile with one of her own, as sultry and seductive as she could make it. “But I suppose some decorous behavior wouldn’t kill me either.”
“Good.” He took her hands and raised them to his lips. “I leave for Brighton at the end of the week. I’d hoped you’d be accompanying me as my wife, but that—”
“As your wife?” How arrogant of him to think she’d fall into his arms at the snap of his fingers.
“Well? Will you meet me in Brighton?” Matthew’s eager voice brought her back to the dim room now filled with possibilities.
“I will be happy to journey to Brighton, my lord. If I find you there, I do hope you will attend me most earnestly.” In a heart’s beat she slipped her hands from his, pulled his lips down to hers, and sealed the pact with a kiss so warm and sweet her resolve slipped a notch. “And now if you’ll excuse me?” Turning swiftly on her toes, Fanny raced for the door. As she grasped the handle, she glanced back at him.
The victorious grin on his face sent a shiver down her spine. She pulled the door open and fled into the corridor before she could change her mind.
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical romance in all time periods because, she says, “passion is timeless.” She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Gloucester, Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats and one silent one.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as an active member of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has four series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France, and The Widows’ Club series, also set in Regency England and available from Kensington Publishing in both print and digital.
She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.
Connect with Jenna here:
And, as promised, Jenna is offering a #20.00 Amazon /BN GC. Just follow this link to the rafflecopter to enter.
Healed from her own loss, Juliana Hopkins wants nothing more than to mend reclusive artist Aidan Byrne’s heart, and help close a chapter in his life that has haunted him for over twenty years. Risking their newfound love, Juliana is determined to release the ghosts he can’t let go.
Aidan has been in love with Juliana since the first moment he saw her, but if she can’t leave the tragedies of his past alone, he won’t be able to make a life with her.
She offers him a love he never dared to want, but loving her could rip open all the old wounds he’d never been able to heal.
Aidan stared at her, only inches away from him in the tiny bathroom. The bloodied cotton ball tight in her grip, she’d broken down into heavy sobs.
He wasn’t sure how to handle it. Weeping women weren’t his specialty. Hell, women in general weren’t his specialty, and now he felt completely at a loss on how to comfort her.He’d sensed her earlier mood, when their eyes had locked in the mirror. At that moment, restless awareness turned into a new sort of tension. She’d been so close to him that he could smell the clean fragrance of her shampoo and feel her warm, tea scented breath on his neck. Fighting a similar attraction, he understood why she’d resorted to anger. He would’ve done the same thing in her shoes. Anger he could handle. Tears? That was a different story.
Quickly he grabbed a few sheets of Kleenex from the box on the back of the toilet and handed them to her. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry. Really, it doesn’t hurt,” he said softly.
Juliana wiped the tissue across her eyes and didn’t look at him. “It’s not that,” she replied with a catch in her voice. “It’s the stupidity of you driving out there. Crazy and irresponsible. You should’ve gotten a lot more than a dumb little scratch on your face. You could’ve been killed, and you could’ve killed Fred.”
Buy Link: Amazon
Originally from Minnesota, Cerian is currently settled in southwestern New Hampshire with her husband and two of her four children plus a dog, cat and two geckos. She’s known she wanted to write since she was twelve, and between mucking stalls in New York and booking cruises in Maine, she’s been filling notebooks and flash drives with her stories in pursuit of her dreams.
Currently she has 10 published books (No Going Back, Where One Road Leads, The Staying Kind, Going Going Gone, and The Storm Within from Soul Mate Publishing, and The Better Man, Do Overs, Finally Home, Light The Way Home, and That Kind of Magic self-published at Amazon). She’s looking forward to adding to this list.
Cerian is a PAN member of RWA, Contemporary Romance Writers and New Hampshire Romance Writers of America.
Connect with Cerian here:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Ceri-Hebert/e/B003NTI0HU
Cerian Hebert will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
And here’s a peak at my thoughts on the book:
4 well deserved stars
Cerian Hebert has delivered a very satisfying addition to the Soul Mate Tree series. I love a book where both the heroine and hero have tragic pasts that lead them to the place they currently are – emotionally, spiritually, and romantically.
At first. widow Julianna and Aidan don’t appear as if they will connect on any kind of plane. But Hebert’s mastery of the slow build of emotional layers, does, in fact, make them perfect for one another. I was fully invested in the characters and the story line from the first page. Well done!
And I’m a sucker for a book that has a dog as a foile character!
4 well deserved stars for this book.
When I get the chance to meet a new-to-me-fellow-author, and she’s a Wild Rose Press sistah, well, my day is just about complete! Today, I’ve got author Rachelle Paige Campbell visiting me, talking about stuff in general, and in her newest release from WRP, A PERFECT PICTURE OF US.
So sit back, have a cup of liquid warmth and get to know all about this prolific author.
Rachelle: The Writer
- What drives you to write? I love to write. I’m one of the classic I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid authors. Writing is an extension of my soul and I can’t imagine taking away that part of myself.
- What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I write sweet contemporary romance. I am intrigued by what makes people tick and why we make the choices that define our lives. I love coming up with a concept and fleshing out the motivations. Often I start from a what if scenario and let my imagination run. Writing sweet is a complicated dance between sexual tension and innuendo. I like the challenge.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Regency set stories were the books that led me into the wonderful world of romance. I love romance books and I read a little bit of everything: contemporary, historical, paranormal, inspirational, etc. The books I pick up have varying levels of heat. I never say “I don’t read” about any book in the genre because that’s not true?
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? I’m blessed to stay home with my kids. My youngest started kindergarten this year. I work during the week while they’re at school and enjoy my evenings and weekends with my kids and husband. I am always working on something. If I’m not actively writing a first draft, I’m outlining another project or revising.
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I used to write in the laundry room. (I converted a closet into a desk.) Recently, my husband bought me a desk and set me up in front of the window in our guest room. I am no longer fighting piles of dirty clothes for real estate and have a door I can shut (and lock).
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision? I can work with noise, but not with my family talking. If a television is on, I can focus and tune out the distractions. But if my husband or children are speaking (even if it’s to each other and I’m not involved), I can’t ignore them.
- Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? When my kids were home and I could only get maybe thirty minutes of writing in at a time, I trained myself to write to music. I utilized the music to cue my brain to turn on and work. I listen to a lot of instrumental music (I love Ramin Djawadi’s soundtracks). On some projects, I listen to a specific playlist designed with the characters preferences in mind.
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? When I planned my wedding eleven years ago, I started looking for inspiration on the Internet. I came across a ton of lifestyle bloggers around my age planning their own weddings. I became a fan and read their entries. After the weddings, many had kids the same time I had my first. I shared in the commiseration of parenting’s ups and downs. I noticed a fascinating trend of bloggers gaining traction (and income) from major companies and growing disconnected from their audiences. When you are selling the image of a lifestyle and being just like you, but now have means far exceeding the target demographic, how are you relatable? This story starts with a blogger eager to get out from the expectations she created.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot comes first. I usually have an idea of the “type” of story I want to write (holiday, second chance, etc.) and come up with the outline. As I develop the bones, I think of the characters. I continue to refine the hero and heroine long after I finish my first draft. I give myself plenty of time to revise because I understand them even more after I’ve written the end.
- What 3 words describe you, the writer? Persistent, passionate, and optimistic I love writing and work hard every day. I am blessed to have the ability to pursue my dream and I don’t take the opportunity for granted.
Rachelle, The Gal
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
- When I was 22, I moved to London for graduate school and lived in a dorm run by nuns.
- Who was your first love and what age were you?
- My kids aren’t reading, right? (They asked me to list my boyfriends before their father the other day!) I’d say real first love was college around nineteen.
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….
- I love the holidays and if I had to choose one, I’d pick Fourth of July. In the morning, our street holds a breakfast block party, the parade goes right by my house, we spend the rest of the day grilling and running through sprinklers, and end riding our bikes to the park to watch the fireworks.
- Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?
- My beauty routine is fairly slim (and most days non-existent). Maybe I’d give up my concealer because no amount of disguise can hide my Mom-exhaustion.
- What three words describe you, the person?
- Family-oriented, hard working, and again persistent. I don’t give up easy and was taught to value effort more than anything else.
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?
- I would sing his song “Idiot Boyfriend.” But maybe I’d stick to playing the drums, my singing voice is admittedly terrible.
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?
- I think Lydia Bennet is probably a lot of fun. She makes bad choices, but she has a good time doing so. I’d take her shopping on Michigan Avenue. She’d buy something outrageous and hit on every guy she passed. We’d laugh the whole day.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound My kids’ laughter
- Least favorite sound Alarm clock
- Best song ever written Every song on O.K. Computer
- Worst song ever written Remember that song “Friday” on Youtube?
- Favorite actor and actress Actor: Edward Norton Actress: Claire Foy
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) I’m so fascinated by what makes other authors tick. I’d love a glimpse inside Julia Quinn’s brilliant mind.
- What turns you on? Consideration (ha—can you tell my heroes are betas?)
- What turns you off? Sleazy lines.
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “What is your friend’s name?”
- What’s your version of a perfect day? A perfect day is sleeping in (7am, ha), drinking coffee someone else brewed, taking my dog for a long walk, writing for a few hours, then spending the afternoon with my family on a bike ride, a picnic, working on a puzzle, anything we do together.
A PERFECT PICTURE OF US
Chicago lifestyle blogger, Jess Edwards, built a successful brand based on the pursuit of perfection. From throwing a party to decorating a home, every post is magazine spread worthy. Leo Martinelli, the law school study partner she never mustered the nerve to kiss, shows up in the middle of a photo shoot, and she’s thrilled for the reunion—until he serves her with a lawsuit.
Attorney Leo never thought he’d see Jess again, not after she disappeared halfway through the first semester. For the past ten years, he’s measured every woman who’s crossed his path against her. This meeting is his chance to say good-bye and finally move on from his unrequited crush—before relocating overseas.
To salvage her reputation, Jess has no intention of settling. To obtain the future he’s worked hard for, Leo can’t lose.
“Jess, I shouldn’t have come. I really can’t give you too much information,” he said, suddenly unsure.
Still gorgeous. Still unattainable. Sitting prim and proper, with her legs and arms crossed, Jessica Edwards was every inch a lady. He remembered being in awe of her the first semester of law school. He’d never have approached her. He’d never been exposed to a person like her. The woman was so sure of herself, so perfect, and yet, so kind. She shouldn’t be real. She should have some terrible hidden secret. But he’d never found any during their time as study partners when she’d asked for his help.
“I’m being sued, right? You’re here to serve me papers?” she asked, shaking the envelope.
He scanned her big blue eyes, searching for any hint of what she might be feeling. Her words, delivered without any emotion, gave him no hint about what turmoil might lie beneath. He’d been good at reading people but oddly never her. “Jess, have your legal team review the case.” He lowered his voice, softening his words. He’d never been sued, and he’d never put himself in the position of the other party, until now. He rubbed the palm of his hand against his heart. Something ached at her reaction. “The papers are in order. The process is fairly cut and dried.”
“Maybe to you, but to me? I don’t need drama, Leo. I don’t need complications right now.”
Rachelle Paige Campbell writes contemporary romance filled with heart and hope. No matter the location–big city, small town, or European kingdom–her feel-good stories always end with a happily ever after. She’s grateful for the support of her family, her robot floor cleaner, and her reluctant writing partner (her dog
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You can connect with Rachelle here:
Peggy here: Rachelle, thanks so much for dropping by today. Your books sounds amazeballs and I’m sure it’s gonna do amazeballs!
Just as an aside, I am a member of an on-line chapter in my RWA organization, the Contemporary Romance Writers. Since this is what I write, it makes sense I’m a member, no? Hee hee.
CRWA has a blog that many of the members contribute to, including myself, and the other day a new post was presented that I swear on everything that’s holy was written exactly for me. I know it wasn’t – but it really could have been, because it was posted at a time when I was struggling with whether or not to compromise something I’d written just in order for it to be sold.
This is the post :Its’s Okay to Say No, written by author Brighton Walsh. The gist of the article is that you should never say a yes when you’re feeling a no to a writing situation. As an author – and still one who is relatively unknown – this hit home for me. Hard.
Let me e’splain it Lucy….
I received a phone call – yes, really A phone call, not an email!!! from someone in the publishing industry the other day to whom I’d cold-sent a new manuscript proposal. (Cold sent is what over the transom means nowadays. It’s basically an unsolicited email about a manuscript). This person called me and was utterly professional, very forthcoming and sincere, and really, really lovely and nice as he/she went about telling me everything that was wrong with my proposal and how I had to change it to make it something he/she could even consider worthwhile to try and sell. Everything from my character names, to their professions, even the plot arc of the book series was “weak” and cliched and needed to be tightened up. I was told that if I wanted to make all those changes and did – I could feel free to send along the new proposal and manuscript for re-review.
So here are the emotions that went barreling through me at that call: ( in order of their appearance!)
- thrilled to have been called and not summarily sent a form email
- doubting myself as a writer
When the call ended I seriously don’t think I took a breath for a few moments.
Here’s the thing: I lovelovelove the story I wrote. truly. It’s got one of my favorite heroine/hero couples that I’ve ever written and every point in the story from their careers to the story arc is exactly how I wanted their story to unfold.
But this in-the-know person in the industry was saying if I made these changes the book might have a chance of being sold to a publisher.
See my dilemma?
Was I willing to change almost everything I’d written with the story just on the slim marginal chance it would be published? Was I willing to sacrifice a storyline and an entire series plot arc, rename characters and change their professions, just to get the story published? Was I willing to abandon all that I’d written and tailor-make it to someone else’s specifications inorder for my words to see print commercially?
I seriously gave myself a stomach and headache that afternoon from all the angst ripping through me.
And then I saw the new CRWA blog post.
After reading it, it was as if the sky had opened up and was shining after a downpour had moved through and darkened it. A little dramatic, but true. I was able to breathe again. My headache disappeared and my stomach pains went the way of the dinosaur. My decision has been made and I think you can guess what it was.
I’ve been talking a great deal about angels lately and how I think they are surrounding me and sending me messages almost daily. I truly believe that blog post was something I was meant to read and learn from. And, just BTW, it’s a really good blog post! You should read it because it can be interpreted for way more things than just writing.
The power of saying No to something that just doesn’t feel right deep down in your soul, is an amazing sensation. As women we need to learn to do that more often, especially if saying yes means we have to compromise our integrity. As writers, new and even established, no is a word that doesn’t get said enough.
If my story never gets sold commercially, that will be okay with me, because with all the options of self publishing available these days, I know I could release it on my own.
The power of NO. It’s, as Martha says, a Good Thing.